I walk by this rusty VW every day on my dog walk. It has been planted there ever since I got sober. 15 years—5,534 days in a row—one day at a time.
A picture of who I was at the end of my drinking.
I was: Abandoned. Stuck. Immobile. Rusty. Static. Rooted in the spot. Frozen.
I knew I had to stop and change my behaviors, but how? It all seemed so overwhelming. All I could see was the rust, so it felt like my only option was to keep drinking and block it out. When I finally realized that I was going to die if I kept on this path, I surrendered to God.
Thy Will, not mine, be done.
If I could have stopped on my own power, I would have, right?
So, now what?—one step at a time, I put down the drink, showed up that day and began to change, not only my thinking, but my behaviors. Replacing the old ways with healthy behaviors. Like, walking the dog when I don’t particularly feel like it. It is good for him and prayer time for me. I started going to meetings—community, not isolation.
This didn’t happen over night. I just kept showing up each day for God’s plan, not my own. When we put a few days together sober, we realize by the evidence, that we CAN do this life sober. Pretty soon, when the sober days start gathering behind me, I can look back and see the progress. The journey. I am in motion and unstuck.
When I first got sober, I didn’t like the “one day at a time” saying. Wasn’t that obvious that we have to live our lives one day at a time?—apparently not. I was future-tripping in my mind, dwelling on what I thought it should be or what I want it to be, not what was. Causing me to go into overwhelm. That’s how my brain works. If I stay in today, I can appreciate this moment, then the next. Then the next. As my world shrinks back down to what is right in front of me instead of zooming out to the big picture (which tends to overwhelm)—I can see what the next right thing might be.
This is going to sound like a weird example, but it’s true for me—
I don’t like shopping. So, instead of waiting until the list gets too long, I go each day for what I need. I also don’t like doing laundry, but if I do just one load a day, I will not have too many piles of laundry to face causing me to not do any of it. Little by little it gets done. Make sense?
It’s like there is a big fishing rod in my mind. I can let the line out and, whew, soon its way out there thinking beyond today. I have to continually reel in the line when I feel myself going to the future that is not mine yet. Whoa, girl. Slow down. Reel it in. What is your next right thing to do today?
Prayer helps me every day:
• I pray for God to “Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I might better do Thy Will...” In other words, get me out of my own way.
• I pray to stay in gratitude for what I have right now and what I can affect today.
• I pray for others, which keeps me out of my own selfish thinking.
• I pray for wisdom to know when I can help and when I need to leave it to God.
I am not this picture of the rusty Volkswagen anymore.
I am now: Rescued. Unstuck. Moved. Clean. Dynamic. Uprooted. Melted by the love of God.
You can be too. One day at a time.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
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